STILLWATER — John Walsh didn't notice anything different about his son, J.W., when he came home to Denton, Texas, during Oklahoma State's bye week.
J.W. spent the weekend at his sisters' volleyball games and lounging on the couch watching football.
Same ol' J.W.
Which, in this case, is a good thing for a backup quarterback who is likely to start for the Cowboys against No. 12 Texas. The status of injured starter Wes Lunt remains uncertain entering Saturday, and if he can't go, the redshirt freshman Walsh will get his first collegiate start.
“I think he's already equipped,” said John, who was also J.W.'s coach at Guyer High School. “I think he was equipped before he got his opportunity.”
Sports clichés like “prepare like you're the starter” and “you're always one play away from seeing the field” came true for Walsh two weeks ago, when he was thrown into emergency duty after Lunt went down with a knee injury on OSU's opening drive against Louisiana-Lafayette. He responded by throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns, running for 73 yards and a score and directing a Cowboy offense that put up a school-record 742 yards in a 65-24 victory.
But this is Texas. This is a primetime, nationally televised game. This is the start of the Cowboys' Big 12 title defense.
And it's a personal opportunity for Walsh to prove he can lead this offense after not winning the starting quarterback job following spring football.
“There is a little difference in how I feel,” Walsh said. “But I just got to stay with that even keel and just prepare like I've been preparing. Because if I change anything, then I'm gonna play different, and I don't want to do that. I want to just stay me and keep my identity as a football player.”